Detroit Lions 2020 season-ending report cards: Offense

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions, Marvin Jones
Detroit Lions, Marvin Jones – Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /

Wide Receivers

Despite the team’s overall struggles in recent years, the Lions’ receiving corps has remained a relative team strength. That trend more-or-less continued in 2020, but an injury-plagued season from its most talented member held the unit back significantly.

After leading the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions in 2019, Kenny Golladay seemed primed for another big season, especially with free agency looming in March. Unfortunately, Golladay appeared in just five games. He missed the first two contests of the year with a sore hamstring and was lost for the season after injuring his hip in a Week 8 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

When Golladay did suit up, he was his usual difference-making self. He scored a key touchdown in a Week 3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals and made a crucial, acrobatic fourth-quarter catch – maybe his best ever – in win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Golladay’s brief season could either be looked at as underscoring his importance to the offense, or as a troubling hint at future injury concerns. Either way, his upcoming free agency will be an important issue facing the Lions’ new decision-makers.

Marvin Jones continued his strong Lions run, scoring nine touchdowns for the second straight season and falling just short of 1,000 receiving yards. Another forthcoming free agent, Jones closed the season with a dominant 180-yard, two-touchdown performance, undoubtedly helping  him earn a sizable contract in the process. It seems likely that the 30-year-old may have played his last down in Detroit, closing an excellent and maybe underappreciated stint with the team.

Behind those two, the Lions trotted out an average group of low-wattage veterans and unpolished youngsters. Danny Amendola did top 600 yards for the second year in a row, but didn’t contribute to many scoring drives; he has not scored a touchdown since Week 1 of 2019.

Quintez Cephus looked very much like the rookie he was for much of the season, but he showed good separation skills at times, and could be ready to take over for Amendola in the slot come 2021. Converted cornerback Jamal Agnew was relegated to mostly gadget plays while learning the position, and mid-season signing Mohamed Sanu totaled just 16 catches in 12 games.

 Grade: C+